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Man pleads guilty to role in police chase

WILLMAR -- The driver in a chase that resulted in shots being fired at Clara City and Willmar police officers was pleaded guilty to felony charges in the case.

Oscar Flores, 27, of Renville pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of attempted second-degree murder - liability for the crimes of another, receiving stolen property and first-degree criminal damage to property.

At Flores' request, Judge Donald Spilseth ordered him to be transferred to the state prison system to await sentencing. He is to be sentenced on May 11.

A jury trial for Flores was scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

In the plea agreement, several charges were amended or dismissed, including several counts of attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer.

Flores and Enrique Villarreal Jr., 23, of Sacred Heart were arrested on Sept. 14, 2005, after a chase that ended after they had sprayed bullets at squad cars pursuing them. Villarreal is still in custody and awaiting trial.

According to court records, the two stole a pickup in Sacred Heart after a night of drinking.

They drove to Clara City, where they stole a second pickup from a bar parking lot. Inside the second truck they found a .22-caliber rifle and a .40-caliber handgun, along with ammunition.

Clara City Police Chief Ralph Bradley chased the two to Raymond, where they pulled over. However, when the chief ordered them out of the vehicle, they drove off, with Bradley in pursuit. Kandiyohi County deputies put stop sticks, designed to shred tires, in the road, but the suspects were able to avoid them.

As they drove around the Willmar bypass, Villarreal allegedly used the handgun and the rifle to shoot at Bradley's car and at other squad cars that had joined the chase. Flores later admitted to police that he also shot the handgun out the driver's window.

The chase ended in the Regency East mobile home park in Willmar. Villarreal jumped out of the vehicle with the rifle, pointed it at officers, then dropped it and fled. He was arrested when he arrived in Sioux Falls, S.D., on a commercial bus headed for Texas.

Flores drove around and between homes in Regency East until he hit a tree. He fled on foot and was taken into custody a short time later. A deputy used a stun gun to subdue him after he refused to surrender.

Bradley and Willmar Sgt. Glenn Negen will receive the medal of honor from the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association later this month for the bravery they displayed in pursuing and apprehending the suspects.